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Jackass: Number Two

Reviewed By Collin Souter
Posted 09/22/06 14:39:37

"I, too, am ashamed of myself"
4 stars (Worth A Look)

Horse semen. Gigantic fish hooks. Rocket-propelled shopping carts. These are just a few of the props used by the crew of jackass to help make the audience in the theater laugh, squirm, hide their eyes or feel absolutely nauseated. You’re likely to do all of these things at least three times during this film. Exactly what else would you want from it anyway? The jackass films were made for the sole purpose of getting a crowd together for a night of brainless hilarity. Although it might be fun for a little while to watch this film in a room full of stuffy film critics just to watch them get upset, I think after a while, I would want to see the film as it was meant to be seen: On a Friday/Saturday night with a bunch of drunken lunkheads.

I don’t say that very often, but come on. These are party movies. There’s no aesthetic here on which one can write an in-depth critical analysis (not one that can be taken seriously, anyway). It’s basically a series of home movies assembled together of a bunch of pranksters pushing each other to the absolute limits of human endurance. More often than not, I’m either laughing my butt off at their shenanigans or shielding my eyes. Yes, it’s shock for shock’s sake and there’s no defending it as an actual “movie.” There’s no arch to it. It is what it is and either you’re game or you’re not.

This time around, though, you have to be more than just game. Jackass Number Two goes more for shock value than for laughter. For laughs, the crew repeats some of their efforts from the first film. They dress up as seniors and go out on the street to act very un-senior-like. Human excrement gets digested yet again (before you scream Pink Flamingos, you should also know that John Waters himself makes a cameo). Bam Margera’s parents become the victims of some rather disturbing pranks. Steve-O takes on sharks. Johnny Knoxville gets shot. That guy with the cardigan shits on camera. You know, the usual.

Of course, this being a sequel to a movie that almost got the NC-17, the jackass crew knew they had to try and top the last film by going even further into the realms of depravity and disgust. They’ve succeeded ten-fold. Watching Steve-O put a fishhook trough his cheek made me hold both hands up to my face. Watching one of the other guys put his bare scrotum on an ice sculpture to see if it would stick made me squirm more than Hard Candy did. There is an act with a horse in this film that would make even Tom Green say “That was a bit much.”

While there remains much to laugh at in Jackass Number Two, nothing really had me in tears. The laughs don’t really sustain this time. Nothing that compares to how hard I laughed when Bam lit the fireworks in his parents’ bedroom. Nothing that screamed of brilliant absurdity like the jousting into the convenient store. Nothing like the guys in the panda outfits running around and beating each other up in Japan. Even the musical number in this film towards the end feels as though it should have been directed by an actual filmmaker in order to make it really solid. I can’t say the crew didn’t try, because clearly they did, but I don’t think this one will have as many repeat viewings as the first jackass film.

But there are just enough laughs to warrent a pass from this reviewer. The other thing the jackass boys do really well is make the audience sick and to make them shout "No...no...NO!" every 10 minutes or so. They have certainly achieved that, for better or for worse. These movies don't aim to achieve much, but they end up achieving more than a lot of movies that actually aim high. I'm not sure how that happens, but it's rather funny to me that it does. If nothing else, I’m glad I got to open a movie review with the words “horse semen.”

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